Perth's Edith Cowan University (ECU) will
seek to use its new mesh wireless network to cut down its fleet
of mobile phones by replacing them with wireless handsets enabled
for Voice over IP (VoIP).
The university's information technology (IT) infrastructure manager Steve Johnston told
a Sydney conference yesterday the move could save ECU a
significant amount of money.
"We can potentially replace somewhere in the vicinity of
upward of 200 mobile phones," he said, noting this could cut
around 50 percent, or AU$200,000, off ECU's annual mobile bill.
First cabs off the rank for the pilot will be ECU's IT staff. "There will be 20 handsets in the
initial trial, with plans to increase to 50-plus handsets," said
ECU has tested vendor ZyXel's handsets, but others will also
get a look-in, due to their potential to provide higher wireless
"We are going to trial some of the Nortel handsets which are
802.11g handsets, and that will improve the throughput," said
Johnston. "We're also looking at some D-Link handsets, which are
While ECU's mesh network allows 802.11g wireless connections
at speeds of up to 54Mbps, if 802.11b hardware connects to the
network, the access point concerned will drop to the lowest
common denominator in terms of speed -- or 802.11b at up to
ECU's wireless mesh network was built on Nortel hardware and
was mainly operational from the middle of 2005, according to
Johnston. Mesh networking allowes wireless access points to connect to each other as well as to devices like laptops, eliminating the need for any cabling.
The university has around 2,500 staff and 22,500 students.